Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige recently labeled Stephen Strange as the “anchor” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which boasts 28 feature films including the latest Doctor Strange sequel. Over the course of 28 films, the MCU has intertwined almost every movie with an overarching thread from the Infinity Saga to the Multiverse.
While some films have been critically acclaimed, others are overlooked by critics and fans alike. With the release of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, we look to rank all 28 films to date.
Marvel movie rankings post-Doctor Strange 2
The MCU consists of a variety of films that live under the Marvel umbrella. From origin stories to ensemble films, some movies have adapted the source material more effectively than others. Additionally, some films have added more to the overall cinematic universe and have left a greater impact than others.
Here we rank all 28 Marvel Studios films first through last, and separate each group by tiers (first, second, and third).
First-tier (1 through 10)
- Avengers: Infinity War
- Spider-Man: No Way Home
- Avengers: Endgame
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier
- Black Panther
- Spider-Man: Homecoming
- Iron Man
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Thor: Ragnarok
- Captain America: Civil War
These first 10 films are the cream of the crop and represent the best storytelling that Marvel Studios has brought forth (to date). A good number of these top 10 films highlight the payoff of the intertwining MCU. Avengers: Infinity War delivered sought-after crossovers to face the long-awaited villain Thanos. Avengers: Endgame brought the entire MCU roster together and ushered in the iconic phrase “Avengers...Assemble!” Spider-Man: No Way Home achieved the unthinkable in bringing together three different eras of Spider-Man on screen in live-action.
Additionally, this first tier includes the best examples of Marvel Studios working with new and inspiring creative visionaries. Guardians of the Galaxy was suspected to be the studios’ first flop until James Gunn had audiences fall in love with a group of unknown space explorers (which included a talking raccoon and tree). Taika Waititi unlocked a new comedic potential with the God of Thunder in Thor: Ragnarok. Ryan Coogler helmed the cultural phenomenon Black Panther which is also the only MCU film to date (and the first superhero film overall) to be nominated for Best Picture.
Amid all the ensemble films, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is continuously held in high acclaim for the film’s shift in tone and the Russo Brothers’ political thriller undertones in directing the movie.
- The Avengers
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
- Doctor Strange
- Spider-Man: Far From Home
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
- Black Widow
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Captain Marvel
While just missing out on the top tier list of MCU films, the next ten movies are still well regarded among fans and may very well be some audiences’ favorites. The Avengers likely holds an important place among the MCU fandom for bringing the noteworthy team to the big screen for the first time, and it also debuts the iconic Alan Silvestri score.
The second tier also includes noteworthy origin films that are arguably underrated, considering they almost always rank against the bigger ensemble films.
Included is Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which includes some of the best fight choreography seen in all of the MCU. Shang-Chi also includes a very underrated musical score. Doctor Strange is also an often-overlooked film, boasting impressive visual effects and a third act that effectively rewrites the narrative of how superhero films wrap up the final battle. Black Widow and Captain Marvel both add the first two MCU films with a female lead, with the former much overdue in its release.
- Iron Man 2
- Captain America: The First Avenger
- Iron Man 3
- Ant-Man and the Wasp
- The Incredible Hulk
- Thor: The Dark World
MCU fans are loyal and remain dedicated to watching any film that serves as the next chapter of the franchise, even if these films leave more to be desired. While some such as Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor represent the early days of storytelling in the MCU, others simply missed the mark.
Thor: The Dark World boasted potential for being one of the first films to follow the success of The Avengers, yet both the story and the villain (Malekith the Accursed) left fans unsatisfied.
Iron Man 3 is notorious for pulling the rug with the unpopular villain twist with The Mandarin, something that may never be forgiven among the MCU fandom. While Eternals is visually impressive, it simultaneously tackled too many plot lines while also holding an unnecessarily long run time. While The Incredible Hulk is still canon to the MCU, swapping Edward Norton for Mark Ruffalo almost makes the original film forgettable in the minds of audiences.
Almost never referencing the events of the film (the exception being the surprise cameo of The Abomination in Shang-Chi) doesn’t help its case either.